Boxing Day bus up and running for Wetherby service

Bus service between Wetherby and Leeds on Boxing Day saved by campaigners.
Bus service between Wetherby and Leeds on Boxing Day saved by campaigners.

Wetherby will have its own Boxing Day bus service in 2014 for the first time in years.

Thanks to the campaigning efforts of local resident Paul Kirby, Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke (Con), and Wetherby ward councillors since January 2014, Metro - the West Yorkshire transport authority - are funding a new service.

Wetherby Racecourse has held a feature race day on Boxing Day for many years and is doing so again this year as part of the William Hill Yorkshire winter festival.

However a previous lack of public transport meant people from outside the town who did not drive had to miss it.

This will change this year when the X98 begins its hourly service from Leeds from 10am to 5pm on Boxing Day at £3,50 for an all-day ticket.

Mr Kirby said: “We are delighted with the outcome and that Metro listened to the arguments we put forward.”

“There have been no bus services at all in Wetherby on Boxing Day for many years, while all other towns in the Leeds City Council area were receiving a service.

“This seemed unfair as it denied Wetherby residents without a car the chance to go to the sales or visit friends and family in Leeds.”

This news follows a year of cuts to bus services affecting the town as the former hourly bus service to York was reduced to only three buses, meaning passengers could only get to the city once every two hours.

And though the 780 service to Knaresborough continued as before, there are now concerns that the 923 route to Tadcaster is vulnerable.

Mr Shelbrooke said:”I am very pleased that these buses will bring extra trade to Wetherby on Boxing Day.

“The Boxing Day races draw in huge numbers and hungry race-goers will now have the opportunity to come into the town centre and help the local economy.

“It may tempt more Wetherby shops to open up for a few hours this year as well.”

To promote the new Boxing Day service, Mr Kirby has designed a leaflet containing the timetable and attractions in both Leeds and Wetherby.

“It is vital we get the message out about this new service,” he said.

“People won’t use it unless they know about it and we all want to see the service again next year.

“I believe it will be very popular, especially with some of the 11,000 people who enjoy the atmosphere of Wetherby Races on Boxing Day.”

Business contributed to the leaflet and Wetherby Business Association and the Racecourse were thanked for being particularly generous.

Five thousand leaflets will be available from November 28 in Wetherby cafes, pubs, Morrisons, Wetherby Whaler, Wetherby Library and the Town Hall.